We have done quite a few interviews with the designer Ty Bomba. He does a lot of games and really covers a wide variety of subjects and is willing to take a risk once in a while with an off topic or controversial game. I like that! When I saw that he was working on a new game for Against the Odds Magazine #52 from Turning Point Simulations I immediately reached out to him to get the lowdown on the game which is called Operation Ichi-Go and covers the massive Japanese offensive across China in 1944.
Operation Ichi-Go Banner
Grant: What historical campaign does Operation Ichi-Go cover?
Ty: It covers the entirety of the historic Japanese “Operation Number One,” which took place from April through December 1944 across central and southern China.
Grant: I understand that the game allows for a path not historically taken by the US. What is this option and why did it make strategic sense?
Ty: Few realize the US almost invaded the coast of southeast China, rather than land in the Philippines, late in 1944. The option pushed by the US Navy – in opposition to MacArthur’s Luzon plan – was to land on southern Taiwan and around the mainland port city of Amoy (Xiamen today) under the codename “Operation Causeway.” If that takes place, the game ending is extended to March 1945.
The Navy’s reasoning was those positions would just as easily allow for the interdiction of the Japanese convoy routes from Southeast Asia to the Home Islands, while having the added benefit of opening a direct supply line to the embattled Chinese.
The tie was only broken, at what amounted to the next-to-last-minute in strategic terms, by President Roosevelt. His relationship with MacArthur was complex (to say the least) and FDR’s thinking could’ve gone either way.
Grant: What was the reason you wanted to design a game on this campaign?
Ty: The alternative Causeway plan, had it been executed, likely would’ve greatly altered Chinese postwar history and, by geo-strategic extension, that of Indochina as well. With so massive an investment of men and materiel sent into that area, it’s unlikely the US would’ve been so hands off in regard to the outcome of the Chinese Civil War and the First Indochina War in the late 1940s.
Also, such an invasion would’ve seen what would easily have been the largest campaign fought between the US and Japanese Army. The entire Kwangtung Army would no doubt have been sent south to try to defeat the US invasion. It would’ve been the US equivalent of the 1944-45 Northwest Europe campaign fought in China.
When the option comes up, it brings changed victory conditions into play, and the whole character of the war across the map shifts into super violent high gear (up from just violent high gear).
Grant: The game is being released in Against the Odds Magazine #52. As such how do you have to design a game for a wargame magazine? Any restrictions for this medium?
Ty: The general rule is: no more than one 34×22” mapsheet, a maximum of 12 to 16 pages of rules (at about 1,000 words per page) and one full counter-sheet (which, depending on counter-size, can be anywhere from 130 to 280 units).
I’m from the working class, so I’ve spent my entire life living in small houses and apartments, shared college and university dorm rooms and military barracks. In turn, those limits are about the largest size game – in both space to set up and time needed to play – that I’ve generally been able to play to completion. To me, that IS wargaming in its purest form, as was first given to us in the original Avalon Hill boxed games and the magazine games of old-SPI.
I accept the discipline imposed by those physical limits, and I work to provide satisfying experiences within them, both in terms of historicity and good gaming. I also believe they fall operatively in line with what a lot of other wargamers are up against in those regards in their own lives. (Not too surprisingly, then, my second-favorite category of games is that of the two-map mini-monster.)
Grant: What scale does the game use for hexes and units? What challenges did this scale present for you?
Ty: Each hex represents 37.25 miles (60 km) from side to opposite side. Each turn represents one month. Individual units of maneuver range from brigades, divisions and corps up to entire Chinese “armies” and “army groups” (which are actually each approximate Western division-equivalents). Given the limits described above in answer to question four, those were the scales that fit the bill. I don’t feel I had to sacrifice anything to get the game I wanted when finished.
Grant: Where did you search for the proper OOB for both the Japanese and Chinese combatants?
Ty: The Nationalist Government on Taiwan printed an excellent order of battle study for both sides – in English – in the early 1970s. The cautionary, though, is that, though it’s fine in giving lists of the units involved in the various campaigns on both sides, it’s no help at all in aiding you to gauge combat power relative to each other. For that, I went with the 9:1 to 10:1 estimates (in favor the Japanese) which came out of the studies done by the historians in MacArthur’s headquarters in postwar Japan. So, as a rule of thumb, I figure one Japanese infantry battalion equaled one Chinese infantry division.
Grant: What sources did you consult to find out the details of the campaign?
Ty: Here’s my annotated bibliography from the game’s historical-support article:
The Cairo ConferenceHeiferman, Ronald. The Cairo Conference of 1943: Roosevelt, Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek and Madame Chiang. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Books, 2011. This book provides a wonderful discourse demonstrating how the relations among great powers may ultimately be determined (or at least powerfully affected) by personal animosities among their elites. A big problem (though it was also just one of many) in the communications between the Anglo-Allies and the Nationalists came from the fact no one – despite her role as media-star – liked Chiang Kai-shek’s wife, yet she kept interposing herself as translator and diplomat between her husband and the leaders of the US and UK.

Long-hsuen, Hsu & Chang Ming-Kai, eds. The History of the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). Taipei, Taiwan: Chung Wu Publishing Co., 1971. This is the Republic of China’s official, one-volume, English-language condensation of their 135-volume full history of the war. It contains detailed Chinese orders of battle and maps, but the OB are presented with no qualitative analysis as to unit proficiencies, etc., and the maps show no natural terrain. Even so, it’s a worthwhile addition to your library if you’ve a special interest in understanding this theater of the war. Long out of print, it’s surprisingly easy to find at one place or another on the Internet’s used book markets (and is usually to be had for under USD 50).

The Battle for ChinaPeattie, Mark, Edward Drea & Hans van De Ven, eds. The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011. If you’re going to have one book in your personal library on this theater of war, this is the one you want. It’s a superb and encyclopedic collection, only lacking in regard to detailed orders of battle and maps. Military historians – unless they’re also wargamers – don’t seem to understand the importance of including those items in their work.

The HumpPlating, John D. The Hump: America’s Strategy for Keeping China in World War II. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2011. This is the story of World War II in China (starting in 1940) as told from the perspective of the US Air Force (then still the US Army Air Force). In the broader sense, it the history of the arrival of airpower as a service capable of strategic missions other than bombardment. The USAAF mission over the Himalayas at once belittled what the Germans tried to do at Stalingrad, and also paved the way for what was later accomplished in the Berlin Airlift of 1948.

Triumph in the PhilipinesSmith, Robert Ross. The War in the Pacific: Triumph in the Philippines.

Washington, DC: US Army Center of Military History, 1993. This is a volume in the US Army’s official history of World War II. It’s first chapter is the only one relevant to the our topic here, but that is indeed a uniquely wonderful read in regard to its analysis of the debate that went on in the US Pacific Theater high command as to whether to invade the Philippines or Taiwan and then the Chinese mainland (Operation Causeway). If you search around online a bit, you can find that chapter available as a freely downloadable file.

Tarnstrom, Ronald L. The Wars of Japan. Lindsborg, KS: Trogen Books, 1992. This is another out-of-print volume you will most likely have to go onto the Internet used book market to find. It’s well worth the effort, though, if you’ve an interest in Japanese orders of battle, along with specific unit tables of organization and equipment, for all their wars from the time of the Mongol Invasions through 1990.

Grant: How did you determine what colors to use for each of the units for each side?
Ty: I make recommendations on that score to the various publishers with whom I work; however, the final choices are always up to them.
In regard to games set in Asia, I always provide the politically correct cautionary to try to avoid yellow. More generally, I follow the basic rule of using ‘hot colors’ – red, orange, yellow – on one side and the ‘cool colors’ – blue, green, violet –on the other side, and save the blacks and grays for the most sinister units within the overall counter-mix.
That approach seems to anger the fewest people, but some always do get angry about unit color choices.
Grant: What different unit types made up the forces?
Operation Ichi-Go Counters
Ty: You had the full panoply of WW2 unit types used in China, with, of course, a distinct bias toward the foot- and horse-mobile. Further, though, if Causeway is launched, you then get the fully moto-mech US onshore in a big way.
Grant: The Japanese Tank Regiments have a unique identifier printed on their counters. What does this number represent and why did you feel it’s inclusion was important?
Ty: The Japanese 2nd “Tank” Division, if it’s entered into play as a reinforcement from the Philippines (if Causeway is launched) is actually a dug-in static unit once on the map, because that’s how they used it historically. The other Japanese tank units are represented as infantry support regiments, also their historic role in this theater. Here’s the rule governing their use:

 

11.18 Japanese Tank Regiments

The Japanese player has three separate tank regiments in his initial historic order of battle and, if Causeway is launched by the US, he receives seven more as reinforcements from the Kwantung Army. Those units are never deployed on the map; rather, they may be committed as odds shifters in battles involving any Japanese brigades and/or divisions on the mainland (never on Formosa).

To receive that support, the involved Japanese divisions and/or brigades must be in supply or attenuated supply. Within that stricture, no more than one regiment may be committed to support any one involved Japanese brigade or division per battle. So, for example, a force of one Japanese division and two brigades could be assigned up to three supporting tank regiments. When attacking Chinese units, the Japanese player must announce his commitment of the tanks prior to seeing the enemy force’s untried sides.

The effect of each committed regiment is to shift the odds one column in favor of the Japanese, but it also results in the automatic elimination of all the committed regiments (no matter the actual rolled result). Their auto-elimination is counted toward satisfying any called for numeric Japanese combat result.

Operation Ichi-Go Counters 2

Grant: What are the zero strength Chinese units and what does this represent? What happens when they are revealed and why?
Ty: Combat power in the Chinese Army in WW2 was a fuzzy-edged kind of thing. The performance to be gotten from any unit could vary greatly over time, depending on factors not controllable at the level of command being role-played by the Allied player in this game. Hence almost all the Chinese units are untried when they first enter combat, and about 20 percent of them, when revealed, turn out to have zero combat power beyond having been strong enough to force the attacking Japanese to actually take the time to deploy into battle. Such units are instantly removed to the dead pile.
Grant: What are the victory conditions?
Ty: This is a large campaign, with goals that would’ve shifted had the US launched Causeway. Here are the victory conditions. Note: the abbreviation GEARR below stands for “Greater East Asia Railroad,” which is what the Japanese termed their long-sought rail link between Southeast Asia and Korea.
4.1 In General

The Japanese are on the overall offensive at the start of play, trying to knock China out of the war via the capture of crucial locales within that country. Note, if Operation Causeway is launched by the US (see 5.4) the Japanese victory point and sudden death conditions operable up to that time are entirely scrapped and negated and a new set of conditions is substituted.

4.2 Japanese Sudden Death Victory: No Causeway

Prior to the launch (or after the cancellation) of Operation Causeway, it’s possible for the Japanese player to win a sudden-death victory via the capture of the Nationalist capital of Chunking (0712). If Causeway is cancelled in favor of the Philippines operation, this victory condition remains operable throughout all the rest of that game (end of Turn 9). If Causeway is launched, this victory condition is no longer available (though the capture of Chunking still has advantages for the Japanese even in that eventuality, see 4.4 below). Within that stricture, if/when the Japanese capture Chunking, that player openly rolls a die and cumulatively applies all the dice roll modifiers (DRM) listed beneath the Chinese Collapse Table that apply at that moment.

China Collapse Table

Die Roll

Outcome

1-5

China Fights On

≥ 6

China Collapses

Cumulative DRM

+1 if Kunming (0119) is Japanese controlled.

+1 if all of the GEARR is Japanese controlled.

+1 if all US Airbases are Japanese controlled.

+1 if there are no Chinese units east of the GEARR.

Note. There’s only one chance per game for China to be made to collapse via the capture of the Nationalist capital of Chungking. If the die roll check is passed via a “China Fights On” result, the table may never be consulted again during that match. In that case, the Chiang Kai-shek regime is assumed to have politically survived the move to some new location off-map (and out of Japanese reach) to the west. Also note that consulting the table may not be delayed; it must be rolled on the moment Chungking is captured.

4.3 Victory or Defeat on Points: No Causeway

If the end of Turn 9 is reached and Operation Causeway was not launched during that match (see 5.3 & 5.4), and China never collapsed as described above, play ends at time and the winner is determined based on Japanese “victory points” (VP). At that time, both players should look over the map in regard to each of the possible Japanese VP awards listed in the table below. Note that the supply state of the various VP hexes is irrelevant; only their control status matters. For each condition fulfilled at that time, the Japanese player is awarded one VP. If the overall Japanese VP tally is one or zero, that game has ended in a Chinese (Allied) victory. If the overall Japanese VP tally is two, that game has ended in a draw, which was the historic outcome. If the overall Japanese VP tally is three or more, that game has ended in a Japanese victory.

Japanese Victory Point Table: No Causeway

1 VP if all US airbases are Japanese controlled (historic outcome).

1 VP if all of the GEARR is Japanese controlled (historic outcome).

1 VP if one or more Japanese units is within 6 or fewer hexes of Chunking or that city is Japanese controlled. Count from Chunking in as straight a hex-path as possible to the nearest Japanese unit; don’t count the Chunking hex; do count the Japanese unit’s hex.

1 VP if Kunming is Japanese controlled.

1 VP if there are no Chinese units in any hex east of the GEARR.

4.4 Victory or Defeat on Points: Causeway Launched

If, at the start of Turn 7, it’s decided the US will launch Operation Causeway instead of invading the Philippines (see 5.3), and China wasn’t previously collapsed as described above in 4.2, that sudden death victory is no longer possible for the Japanese player and the VP scheme given above in 4.3 is also scrapped. Instead, there’s a new Japanese sudden death victory condition put into play, along with a possible Allied sudden victory (see below, 4.5). Barring sudden death, play is otherwise extended through the end of Turn 12 and, at that time both players should look over the map in regard to each of the possible Japanese VP awards and debits listed in the table below.

Note that the supply state of the various VP hexes is irrelevant; only their control status matters. For each condition fulfilled at that time, the Japanese player is awarded or debited a VP. If the overall Japanese VP tally is zero or less, that game has ended in a Chinese (Allied) victory. If the overall Japanese VP tally is one, that game has ended in a draw. If the overall Japanese VP tally is two or more, that game has ended in a Japanese victory.

Japanese Victory Point Awards: Causeway Launched

+1 VP if one or more Japanese units is adjacent to the US beachhead hex on Formosa.

+1 VP if one or more Japanese units is adjacent to the US beachhead hex on mainland China.

+1 VP if the Japanese control Chungking (0712).

+1 VP if all of the GEARR (1801-0925) is Japanese controlled.

Japanese Victory Point Debits: Causeway Launched

-1 VP if there are no Japanese units anywhere on Formosa.

-1 VP if the Allies control hex 1801 of the GEARR.

-1 VP if the Allies control hex 0925 of the GEARR.

-1 VP if game ends and the Allies control Shanghai (3106) or Wuhan-Hankow (2008).

4.5 Japanese Sudden Death Victory: Causeway Launched

If Operation Causeway is launched, play stops and the Japanese player is declared to have won the game the instant he gains control of either the US beachhead hex on Formosa or the one on the mainland (see 5.3 & 5.4).

4.6 Chinese (Allied) Sudden Victory

No matter if Causeway is launched or cancelled, play stops and the Chinese (Allied) player is declared to have won the game the instant he gains simultaneous control of both Shanghai (3106) and Wuhan-Hankow (2008).

Grant: What is the general Sequence of Play?
Ty: From the rules for the game we read the following:
Turn & Phase Sequence
I. US Naval Landing Phase*
II. US Movement or Combat Phase*
III. US Combat or Movement Phase*
IV. Airpower Phase**
V. Japanese Reinforcement Phase
VI. Japanese Movement or Combat Phase
VII. Japanese Combat or Movement Phase

VII. Chinese Movement or Combat Phase***

VIII. Chinese Combat or Movement Phase

IX. Chinese Reinforcement Phase

*Skipped at least until Turn 7.

**Skipped permanently if Causeway is launched.

***The Japanese player determines the Chinese phase sequence until Causeway is launched.

Grant: I know you have tried to make this a solitaire friendly design. What rules have you included to make it so?
Ty: When I turned in the game, my feeling was the system was already amenable to the kind of fudged-solitaire play most wargamers indulge in for a great deal of their hobby time. The people in the ATO editorial offices wanted a more rigorous presentation, though, so they supplied a solitaire rules adjunct. You’d have to ask them for those details.
Grant: How does the US get involved in the action?
Ty: Here’s the rule governing possible US entry.

 

5.3 Operation Causeway & US Participation

At the start of Turn 7 (October 1944), the Chinese (Allied) player should openly roll a die, and the two players together should cross-index that result on the table below. Be sure to add to the number rolled all the DRM listed beneath the table that are applicable at that moment. There’s never more than one check for Causeway made during each game.

Causeway or Philippines Table

Die Roll

Outcome

0-5

US Invades the Philippines.

≥ 6

Causeway launched.

Cumulative DRM

+1 or -1 if all US airbases are Japanese controlled. If all the bases are Japanese controlled, roll a die to determine if this DRM will be positive or negative. If the result is 1-3, it positive; if it’s 4-6 it’s negative (& see design note below).

+1 if all of the GEARR is Japanese controlled (1801-0925).

+1 if any Japanese force is within six or fewer hexes of Chungking (0712) or that city is Japanese controlled.

+1 if any Japanese force is within six or fewer hexes of Kunming (0119) or that city is Japanese controlled.

+1 for every Chinese controlled mainland port city. A “port city” is any city on a coastal hex.

Design Note. When the airbases fell, a faction within the US high command took that as an indicator there needed to be direct intervention in China in order to simply ensure that country stayed in the war. The opposition (MacArthur) pointed to it as an indicator of just the opposite: that no US intervention could be effective in reshaping the war in China. Neither of those outcomes could’ve been known with certainty at the time the decision had to be made; so we model that with this variable (and diametrically opposed) outcome.

Grant: What are the effects of Operation Causeway?
Ty: The entire strategic context of the game is changed in mid-stream. Here’s that summary rule.

5.4 Effects of Causeway

If the US launches Operation Causeway — thereby invading Formosa rather than the Philippines – the following rules changes, along with the altered victory conditions described above in 4.4 and 4.5, immediately go into effect and remain in effect for the rest of that game.

1. The Allied player, rather than the Japanese player, determines and announces the Chinese phase sequence every turn. Also see 5.9.
2. The Allies henceforth have what is in effect automatic air superiority. Remove from play all the tactical airpower markers (see 2.17).The Japanese player must henceforth roll a die to determine his units’ movement factors (see below, 5.8) and they suffer attenuated combat supply (see 7.5).
3. The Allied player henceforth rolls a die at the start of each turn to determine if he’s allowed a B-29 raid that turn (see 8.9).
4. The Allied player takes one of the US Beachhead Markers (see 2.17) and up to eight US infantry divisions and moves them ashore into hex 3221, the Formosan port city of Takao-Tainan.
5. The Japanese player then deploys the four divisions of his earlier set aside Formosa Garrison into any hex or hexes on that island other than 3221.
6. The Japanese player next deploys onto the map all the divisions and brigades of the Kwantung Army via the hexes described in rule 9.2. Set aside that army’s tank regiments and see 11.18 in regard them.
7. The Japanese player has available as reinforcement the units of 14th Area Army (14AA), in the Philippines, to move from there to Formosa and/or the Chinese mainland via naval transport. Each turn during Phase V, starting this turn, he openly rolls a die, subtracts one from it, and then blindly selects that number of 14AA units to try to bring ashore until there are no more left in that pool. If the final number ever comes up a zero, no more 14AA units are available throughout the rest of the game. He may land arriving 14AA units that survive their water crossing at any friendly mainland port city and/or any Formosa coastal hex (port or not) which is not adjacent to any one or more US units at the time. Each brigade survives its crossing on a roll of one, two or three, but is eliminated on a rule of four, five or six. Each division survives its crossing at full step-strength on a roll of one or two, survives at reduced step- strength on a roll of three or four, and is entirely eliminated on a roll of five or six. Also see 11.29 for a unique rule governing the 14AA’s 1st SF Group.
8. If the 14AA’s 2nd Tank Division survives its crossing, once its placed on either a Formosa or mainland hex, it may not move from there, except possibly to go into the dead pile, for the remainder of the game.
9. Either one of the Japanese divisions withdrawn on Turn 5 (see 9.3) should be placed into the 14AA pool as soon as Causeway is determined to have been launched, from where it may be reentered into play via the process described above in step 7.
10. On Phase I of Turn 8, the Allied player takes the other US Beachhead Marker, along with up to eight other as yet un-entered US infantry divisions, and moves them ashore on mainland China via any port city lying south of hex 2817. If there are any Japanese or Chinese units in that hex, the Allied player simply moves them one hex out of the city in any direction of his choice. Note that, if Causeway was launched the turn prior, this mainland landing is mandatory on Turn 8 and may not be delayed or aborted.
11. The US 11th Airborne Division becomes available for deployment during the US Movement Phase of Turn 8 or later. See 7.9 and 8.11 for details.
12. Finally, note that, if Causeway is not launched, on Turn 9 the Japanese player may take two divisions (historically the 50th and 66th) from his Formosa Garrison and enter them as normal reinforcements on the mainland that turn. See 9.4 for details.

Design Note. In regard to points 4 and 10 above, US forces never have to fight their way ashore on the Formosa or the mainland. Japanese doctrine at the time didn’t call for that kind of strategy, and they didn’t have the combat power to carry it out had they attempted to do so.

Grant: One of the things I noted about Operation Causeway is that the US forces never have resistance to landings. Why is this the case?
Ty: At this scale, in these locales, that just wasn’t going to be the case. The Japanese hadn’t fortified the large number of beaches on the immense island of Taiwan, or the even longer mainland Chinese coast, in anything like the way the Germans did along the west coast of “Fortress Europe.” They simply didn’t have the resources for anything like that. The real campaign would’ve begun once US forces were committed ashore.
Grant: Movement factors differ between the US and Japanese forces. Why is this the case? What strategy does this force on both sides?
Ty: US forces are fully motorized-mechanized, both in their combat and support elements. In contrast, in that regard, the Japanese most resemble the earlier, interwar, mixed bag capabilities of Western armies, and the Chinese are basically pre-modern. As in any wargame, if you want to win, you’ve got to play to each force’s strengths and weaknesses.
Grant: How does combat work?
Ty: Attacks take place between adjacent opposing units during the combat phases in every turn. Attacking is always voluntary; the mere fact of enemy unit adjacency doesn’t necessitate your units launch attacks against them. Both players are always free to attack or not, as each chooses on a case by case basis, during all of his own side’s combat phases in each turn throughout the game. The player whose combat phase it is, is considered the “attacker,” and the other player is considered the “defender,” no matter the general situation across the map. Just as with movement, combat is conducted on a one at a time basis, with the attacking player picking the order of his attacks.
Grant: Anything unique about the CRT?
Ty: Here it is. Players can decide for themselves if they like it:

 

Combat Results Table

Chinese Attacks Odds RatiosÞ

≤ 1:3

1:2

1:1

2:1

3:1

4:1

5:1

6:1

7:1

8:1

9:1

≥ 10:1

Japanese Attacks Odds RatiosÞ

≤ 1:4

1:3

1:2

1:1

2:1

3:1

4:1

5:1

6:1

7:1

8:1

 9:1

US Attacks Odds RatiosÞ

≤ 1:5

1:4

1:3

1:2

1:1

2:1

3:1

4:1

5:1

6:1

7:1

≥ 8:1

Die Rolls Þ  1

2/0

2/0

1/0

1/0

0/1

0/1

0/1

0/2

0/3

0/4

0/5

DE

2

2/0

2/0

2/0

1/0

1/1

0/1

0/2

0/3

0/4

0/5

DE

DE

3

1/0

2/0

2/0

2/1

1/1

1/2

0/3

0/4

0/5

DE

DE

DE

4

1/0

1/0

2/1

2/1

2/2

1/3

1/4

0/5

DE

DE

DE

DE

5

1/0

1/0

1/1

2/2

2/3

2/4

1/5

DE

DE

DE

DE

DE

6

1/0

1/1

1/2

1/3

2/4

2/5

DE

DE

DE

DE

DE

DE

Chinese attacks have x2 attacker losses shown on table unless Causeway has been launched (0 or DE 1).

Grant: What are the various Combat results?
Ty: The numeric results (attacker/defender) are steps lost; “DE” means all involved defenders are eliminated and put into the dead pile. There are no retreats after combat. US and Japanese units that advance after combat into the defender’s newly vacated hex may, optionally, attack again from that new position (“momentum attacks”).
Grant: Japanese tanks can be used as shifters rather than being deployed. Why is this the case?
Ty: At these time and space scales, I see that as the most accurate representation of their use in combat historically in this theater.
Grant: Chinese forces lose twice the CRT result. Why is this the case and what does this replicate historically?
Ty: They are tactically inefficient in comparison to the more modern forces of the Japanese and the US. In play, you quickly come to understand why Chiang Kai-shek was always loathe to send large Chinese forces into the attack if some other strategy was available.
Grant: Supply is a bit different for each side. What from history caused you to include these differences?
Ty: The Chinese have no supply rules as such; rather, in relation to the US and Japanese, they’re effectively out of supply all the time, and those limits are built into their combat and movement rules. Supply rules for the Japanese and US are pretty much standard for what you’d expect for a late-period WW2 game at these scales.
Grant: How is Air Superiority determined and what effect does it provide?
Ty: If Causeway is launched, the extra US air assets that brings into play guarantees Allied air superiority. Prior to that, it’s a comparative dice roll process, with one side or the other thereby gaining temporary air superiority, which, in turn, can be used to slow enemy movement and enhance the combat power of friendly units.
Grant: How do US B-29 Bomber Raids work and how does this effect the Japanese?
Ty: Here’s that rule.
If Turn 7 arrives, and there’s to be no launch of Operation Causeway, the Allied player may, at the start of any one game turn of his choice thereafter, place the B-29 marker atop any Japanese controlled city. The Effect of the marker is that all Japanese units that start that turn, or operate within three hexes of it during that turn, are OOS for that turn (even if they move out of the marker’s extended range). If Causeway is launched, at the start of every game turn (including Turn 7) the US player must petition Gen. Curtis LeMay to see if he’ll make available a B-29 raid for ground combat support that turn. On an openly made roll of one, two or three, the general’s answer is yes; on a roll of four, five or six it’s no. If yes, the commitment of the B-29 is exactly as given above.
Grant: How does strategic movement work? Why can Chinese units not use strategic movement?
Ty: Essentially, US and Japanese units that begin their moves in supply and not adjacent to any enemy units, and that then don’t move adjacent to any enemy units, may thereby double their otherwise normal movement factor. That represents the idea units with motor transport available to them can, if they don’t have to worry about maintaining full combat readiness, move a lot faster than when in the presence of the enemy. Lacking motorization, that benefit is unavailable to the foot-slogging Chinese.
Grant: What are you most pleased with about the design?
Ty: It’s my break into ATO Magazine, and I’ve been wanting to do that for years. Also, the topic remains almost entirely uncovered within the hobby, which is rare these days for anything from WW2. Also, also, I believe this is the first alternative history exploration of Operation Causeway. All of that is enticing stuff for me.
Grant: When can we expect to see the game released?
Ty: In ATO issue #52, which I believe will be shipping at the very end of 2019 or the very beginning of 2020.
Grant: What other projects are you working on?
Ty: I have another game in the works for ATO, this one on the Battle of Austerlitz – and I believe I’ve hit on a system for it that actually makes it a fun game for BOTH commanders.
Thanks for your time in answering our questions on the game Ty. I look forward to getting this one to the table as I don’t know that I have played many games on this facet of WWII.
-Grant